The works of Makato Shinkai have been some of the most highly-regarded and well-loved anime films of all time, but none of them compare to the 2016 film, Your Name. Upon its release, it quickly became the highest-grossing anime film of all time, surpassing the title that held the position for nearly 15 years.
Following the lives of Mitsuha and Taki, two teenagers who inexplicably find themselves able to swap bodies with one another, Your Name wears its heart on its sleeve and guides the audience through a story of love, loss, and impending doom. Despite its popularity, however, there are many aspects of the film that go unnoticed by many film-goers.
10 Animation Director Worked Heavily With Hayao Miyazaki In The Past
Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon, and Makoto Shinkai are some of the biggest names in anime films right now. Miyazaki is tied to Studio Ghibli, and Kon is responsible for masterworks such as Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent, but, unknown to many people, their work is connected by one man: Masashi Ando. Ando worked on the character designs for Spirited Away, Paprika and Paranoia Agent, as well as the animations for many other Ghibli movies. With this kind of resume behind him, it’s no wonder he was brought on to lead the animation team for Your Name.
9 Passed Spirited Away to become the Highest Grossing Anime Film of All Time
Before Your Name became known to the world, Spirited Away held the title of the highest-grossing anime film since its release in 2001. Although domestically, Studio Ghibli’s masterpiece still holds the position, from a worldwide point of view Your Name is the crowned king of anime films.
For those curious, the next nine films that come under Your Name‘s top position are six Studio Ghibli films, Pokémon: The First Movie and Stand By Me Doraemon. Not a bad group of films to find yourself associated with.
8 Weathering With You Is A Kind Of Sequel
Weathering With You is the latest release by Makoto Shinkai. Centering around Hina, a girl who can control the weather, and Hodoka, an aspiring writer who wants to use Hina’s unique skills to help pull them out of hardship.
While the film isn’t a direct continuation of Your Name, the two leads both make appearances as adults throughout the film, taking place concurrently with the ending of Your Name. Taki is revealed to be the grandson of one of the group’s elderly clients, and the shop clerk where Hodoka buys Hina’s birthday present is Mitsuha.
7 Characters From The Garden of Words Make An Appearance
The lastest Makoto Shinkai film isn’t the only one connected to Your Name. The Garden of Words, released in 2013, focuses on Takao Akizuki, an aspiring shoemaker, and Yukari Yukino, a teacher who struggles with her students bullying her. Both of the leads make an appearance in Your Name, as Yukari is the Classical Japanese teacher at Mitsuha’s school, Ms. Yuki, and her partner, Takao, makes a silent appearance near the end of the film among a crowd of people.
6 The Comet Is Named After The Babylonian Goddess Of The Sea
The comet that looms over much of the film, Tiamat, is named after the goddess of the ocean. Although much of her theology doesn’t relate to the nature of the comet, there is one aspect that is connected to the film in a rather grim way.
Tiamat, at the end of her life, was torn in half and her ribs were made into the vaults of heaven and earth. Near the end of Your Name, Tiamat spits in half instead of passing overhead safely, resulting in the destruction of the town of Itomori as the other half continues its journey through space.
5 The Ending Is Very Similar To Another Makoto Shinkai Film
At the end of Your Name, Mitsuha and Taki are now all grown up and living in Tokyo as adults. They pass each other on the street, and, in a moment of recognition that has surpassed the loss of their memories of each other, simultaneously ask “what’s your name?” Thus, the title of the film. 5 Centimeters Per Second, another Makoto Shinkai film that came out in 2007, has a near-identical moment involving its two leads.
After growing apart and moving on with their lives, Tataki and Akari pass each other over a railway and have a moment of recognition before they both continue on and go back to the lives they have made for themselves. It’s a much more depressing version of the same ending, knowing that this wasn’t nearly as happy an ending as Your Name‘s was.
4 A Novelization Was Released One Month Prior To The Film
In the lead up to the film’s release, a novelization written by Makoto Shinkai was released. While the overarching story is the same as the film, there are some differences between the two pieces. For one, the novel is written in first-person, so some scenes from the film where neither Taki nor Mitsuha were present aren’t in the novel.
Secondly, several scenes in the novel take advantage of internal dialogue to expand on the character’s reactions to certain events, such as Mitsuha remembering snippets of her time as Taki in the beginning of the novel.
3 There Are Hints Early On To The Time-Traveling Nature Of The Film
At the beginning of the film, it’s not made clear as to the time-traveling nature of Mitsuha and Taki’s body swaps, with the audience, as well as the characters, assuming that it is all taking place in the same time period. However, if you pay close attention to the dates and days of their messages to one another, the days and weeks do not line up as they scroll through their phones.
In one instance, September 12 is shown as a Wednesday on one phone, but not the other, hinting early on that they are not in the same timelines.
2 Mitsuha’s Family’s Names Are All Connected
Although Mitsuha’s family may have no naming connections to an English speaker, their Japanese meanings are all connected to one another. Mitsuha’s grandmother, Hitoha, means “one leaf” in her native tongue, and begins a naming trait that follows down the female side of her family. Mitsuha’s mother, Futaba, is “two leaves,” Mitsuha herself is “three leaves,” and her little sister, Yotsuha, is “four leaves.” We can only assume that if Mitsuha had a daughter or niece, they would be named “five leaves.”
1 The Red String Of Fate
In Japanese culture, there is a legend that two people are connected by a red string of fate. In a nutshell, it’s the idea that two people are connected by a red string that keeps them in each other’s lives forever. The red ribbon is used throughout the film to represent the red string of fate, as Mitsuha is often seen wearing it, as well as Taki later on in the film. Mitsuha’s grandmother, who reveals that she also had a similar experience in her youth, wears a ribbon in the same way as Mitsuha.
The works of Makato Shinkai have received incredible amounts of praise over the years, and here are 10 facts about his 2016 project Your Name.